Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time.
The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.
And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.
Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.
Take heed ° now that ye fail not to do ° this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
 

4:23 made them to cease. This decree resulted in the cessation of work on the temple for many years, perhaps about sixteen years.


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